Change is good for the soul


If you have ever sautéed vegetables, you know that if you fail to give the pan enough “umph!” the veggies will not jump and flip. You have to get the wrist involved and even use a little arm muscle to toss them and get them to land back in the pan. If you do not give the pan enough of a wrist flick or use enough arm muscle, the veggies will not jump and twist but just slide around in the pan, un-airborne.

Relocating to a new city is a more complex endeavor than sautéing vegetables, however the same simple principle applies. Do not half-ass it.

Below are 7 tips to consider when making a change in location.

(Note: While many oppose the idea of moving somewhere without their next opportunity lined up, I did it anyway– sort of. I thought that it would be difficult to grow my professional network, interview, and attend events in the Sarasota community from thousands of miles away in Chicago, so I temporarily lived with family before finding a place to live and my next career endeavor.)


1.    Consult the locals

If you do not have family where you are moving, maybe there are friends or a friend of a friend you can meet with. Ask them about the best neighborhoods to live in, the sketchy parts of town to avoid, find out who their professional network/contacts are and determine if you can meet them, visit their favorite grocery store, yoga studio, the list goes on and on and it is only a jumping off point.


 2.    Research

Go to Starbucks or a local non-chain coffee shop, read local magazines, newspapers, and yelp to read reviews on places that interest you. Start to discover the culture. Make like an anthropologist and take notes. Identify questions. Soak it in. “Like” the city’s Facebook pages, follow local organizations on Twitter and Instagram.



3.    Events Events Events

Go to them! These can be keynote speaker presentations, happy hours, fundraisers, runs, workshops, the theater, yoga. Say yes as much as you can and ensure you stay balanced to avoid burnout. Whenever you attend an event, dress professionally.




If you do not have business cards, bring a pen and notecard to jot down your information. Graciously accept others’ business cards.



(Actual stack of business cards I received while growing professional network in < 1 month) 

Which leads me to my next point…


4.    Follow up

Send an email to your new contact the following day, letting them know it was a pleasure to meet them and – if they offered to be a professional resource for you – enclose your resume.

Unknowingly, I met my future boss at an event. Excited to grow my professional network and enjoy the beautiful surroundings at the Powell Crosley Estate, I sent a follow up message the next day, and that’s how our initial partnership conversations started.


 5.    Mail a hand written thank you note

I know, I know, I already mentioned this in my graduates’ column. Hello, my name is Kelly and I am obsessed with hand written notes. However, this is a courteous and important gesture after someone has shared their time with you to discuss a career opportunity.


 6.    Disconnect

Once you find a place to live, all addresses need to be updated at your banks, cell phone, cable, mail forwarded, belongings sold or packed, movers arranged, medical records requested, and the list of moving logistics goes on.




With these tactical loose ends sorted, you will probably want to make time for personal good-byes to your family and/or friends in your old city. You could set up a time to meet up with friends and provide the details they will want to know (who, what, when, where, why). Keep the tone upbeat. If they cannot make it, maybe you can meet for lunch or froyo or coffee. Go see your favorite yoga teacher and take one last class. (Warning, you might cry saying goodbye…hey I blame the hip openers, any yogi knows these unleash our emotions.)




7.    Connect

Include photos of family and friends in your interior design efforts as you make your new place feel like home.  Stay connected to your old tribe through weekly or monthly calls, an impromptu FaceTime or Skype sesh, emails, cards, social media.


Find a gym or yoga studio or running and biking place in your new spot. Take care of you. Journal. Treat yourself to a mani pedi. Use your research from tip #2 to find a salon with rave reviews and freshen up with a haircut.




And while you are looking fabulous and meeting people, you might get some new intel on underground places ­– the unique word of mouth finds that are not online. And then, you’ll really start to feel less like an outsider and more like a local.


And, as you learn new habits, you will realize that this growth and stretching and change is good for your soul.


And, finally, as you are out and about and settling in, you will realize that one of the best parts of having an “all in” frame of mind when relocating, is that you can start to align with people and organizations that share your values. So together, you can make a positive impact in your community. And that is change that is refreshing for you and everyone around you.


Have you ever relocated? What did you learn? @kellymc247

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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